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Curate your waste: improving the efficiency of waste recovery

October 29, 2015

Curate your waste: improving the efficiency of waste recovery

Sustainable urban waste management has progressed over recent decades, with recycling of waste becoming a routine activity across the EU. However, the increasing volume and complexity of waste poses ongoing challenges for policymakers and municipal administrators. New research suggests that a rethink around how household waste is sorted could lead to more resources being recovered from solid waste.

In light of increasing waste recovery targets across the EU, it is in the interests of local authorities to expedite waste management systems and thereby improve the recovery of recyclable resources. Against this context, a recent study investigated the performance of waste sorting infrastructure in two buildings, housing 92 apartments, in Gothenburg, Sweden. The study’s aims were twofold: to identify problems associated with apartmentbased waste sorting; and to propose ways in which housing companies might improve existing systems to enable tenants to sort waste more effectively. The buildings were selected due to their location in a district known to have problems engaging residents in waste separation.

Tenants in such buildings typically recycle their waste in containers within designated garbage disposal rooms, and are provided with guidelines relating to the containers in which specific types of waste should be placed. Over the course of the study, the tenants’ waste handling methods were evaluated in four ways: the weight of discarded material (both mixed and biodegradable waste), the composition of the waste, observations of the tenants’ behaviours, and a user survey.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service.

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